Doing what is right for the depressed economy while hoping to regain a reputation for fiscal responsibility over the long run is no simple task. The adjustments made to the budget last Wednesday were made in these highly adverse circumstances.

Tax revenues have collapsed along with incomes and output, inevitably increasing the borrowing requirements of the government — more than doubling them as a percentage of GDP. However, the sacrifice of incomes in the lockdown calls urgently for more government spending, not less, and lower, not higher, tax rates...

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